The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC) presents the Chicago debut of samba superstar Zeca Pagondinho on Wednesday, June 14 at The Vic Theater, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 8 pm; admission is $55 General Admission Floor ($45 for ILCC members) and $65 seating ($55 for ILCC members). The embodiment of Rio’s free easy-going spirit, Pagodinho celebrates, backed up by a 15-member band, 40 years in the music business.
Born Jessé Gomes da Silva Filho in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Zeca started his career as a child in the 1970s and became a regular performer in samba gatherings, where he perfected a samba style known as Pagode. This new style triggered a samba revival in the 1980s, when Zeca became known as its true face. It was in the most important of these pagodes, the one that gathered the bloco carnavalesco Cacique de Ramos, that he became acquainted with another samba legend, Beth Carvalho, who became his madrinha, or protector. His first album, Zeca Pagodinho (1986) sold a million copies in Brazil; he has released over 15 albums since then (his last one, Mais Feliz, was released in 2019, a year before the COVID-19 Pandemic stopped all artistic activities around the globe) and three DVDs. He has won four Latin Grammy Awards in the Samba/Pagode category for Zeca Pagodinho ao Vivo (2000), Agua da Minha Sede (2001), Deixa a Vida Me Levar (2002) and Acústico MTV 2 Gafieira (2007). His songs have been performed by such Brazilian superstars as Carvalho and Alcione.
“This concert is a dream come true for me,” said Mateo Mulcahy, deputy executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center and producer of the Chicago Latino Music Series. “I have long wanted to bring Zeca to Chicago; there’s no better way to present this remarkable and exciting showman than with this 40-year retrospective of his career. The spirit of Carnival will take over The Vic that night. I recommend attendees to stay hydrated since they will be dancing their socks off!”